A 28-year-old Iraq War veteran raised $111,758 in his first month as a Democratic candidate against Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence.
Jonathan Powers, a war critic who has worked with veterans groups since leaving the military, announced his fundraising total Wednesday.
Powers' fundraising report shows he raised more in a month than three of Reynolds' previous congressional opponents had raised for their entire campaigns. Jack Davis, an Akron millionaire who ran against Reynolds in 2004 and 2006, was the only Reynolds opponent to raise more.
"I'm pretty excited," Powers said. "This is better than I expected."
Yet it's still far short of what Reynolds, a five-term congressman and former head of the GOP House fundraising committee, already has raised.
Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Reynolds raised $515,344 in the first half of the year and now has $585,862 on hand.
A Reynolds spokesman, L.D. Platt, declined to comment on Powers' fundraising totals.
Nevertheless, Powers' early fundraising totals are unusually high for a first-time candidate's first month on the trail, and they could portend another serious battle in the 26th District. Reynolds edged out Davis by 2 percentage points last year in what was the state's most expensive congressional race, costing the two campaigns $7.7 million.
Powers' campaign has already prompted plenty of coverage on political blogs, and he said that is one reason he has been able to raise so much money so quickly.
However, it also means that a majority of contributions come from out of state -- a fact that Reynolds might be able to use against Powers, who moved back to Western New York from Washington shortly before entering the race.
"Realistically, for all the money that we are going to have to raise, we're not going to be able to raise it all at home," Powers said, noting that he would prefer to raise money from small donors rather than political action committees.
Powers declined to indicate how much money he hoped to raise for the race.
"It's going to take a lot, but we're definitely headed in the right direction," he said.
Powers, a Clarence native and retired Army captain who served in Iraq in 2003, later formed War Kids Relief, a nonprofit aimed at aiding Iraq's youth.
Reynolds, a onetime Republican rising star, found himself in his toughest campaign yet last year after acknowledged that he urged Rep. Mark Foley to run for re-election. Foley, R-Fla., resigned in disgrace last fall amid revelations of improper e-mail contact with former House pages.